Sheffield Wednesday: Owls chief stays tight-lipped over midfield loanee

Alex LopezAlex Lopez
Alex Lopez
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal is staying tight-lipped over whether Alex Lopez will be offered a permanent move to the club following the expiry of his loan deal.

The little Spaniard is set to remain at Hillsborough for the remainder of the 2015/16 campaign, having arrived from Celta Vigo last summer.

On Lopez’s long-term future, Carvalhal told The Star: “Alex is our player until the end of the season so it is too early to talk about that situation for me or him.

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Owls boss Carlos CarvalhalOwls boss Carlos Carvalhal
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

“You can ask me that question near the end of the season. Not now in my opinion.

“We are happy Alex is available again. He has time to improve, play and help the team.”

Following a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a thigh problem, Lopez made a surprise return to action in Wednesday’s goalless draw at home to Derby County last week.

It was the 27th-year-old’s 12th Owls outing and the central midfielder produced an accomplished performance, staking his claim for a regular starting spot.

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Carvalhal has been impressed by how quickly Lopez has adapted to the rigours of English football.

“First of all Alex is a very good person, he is a fantastic professional and he is experienced in football - especially in the Spanish first league where he played a lot of games for Celta Vigo,” he said. “He is an experienced player and has adapted very well to the Championship. It has been very easy for him because of the abilities that he has.

“Alex has fantastic qualities and played as we expected him to play versus Derby.

“Also he is from the North of Spain where the weather is more aggressive and it rains more so it’s nothing new to him here!”

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At his press briefing yesterday, Carvalhal confirmed defender Michael Turner will be in his match-day squad for today’s clash at Cardiff City, having recovered from a knee problem.

Wednesday will be without the services of Jack Hunt, who is still struggling to shake off a calf knock he sustained at Stoke City last week. Liam Palmer is set to keep the right-back spot.

Carvalhal has hinted he may bolster the options at his disposal when the transfer window reopens next month.

“We are probably in a different position to a lot of clubs as we won’t necessarily move too many things,” he stressed. “We are happy with our players so we don’t need to move much.

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“If we do something, we will move very small things. It is not something we talk about at this moment.”

Should Wednesday pick up maximum points at Cardiff City today, Carvalhal’s troops will leapfrog the Welsh club into sixth spot.

He said: “It will be a very tough game. They are probably the strongest team at set pieces so we train a lot to try and prevent these kind of situations.

“They have weak points like a lot of teams in the world so we will try to create damage to them.

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“The players work hard to win the points since the first and last second of the Championship.

“If you lose concentration and start thinking beyond Cardiff and we start thinking what we will do after three weeks or one month, we disturb the concentration and our team will not go the same way.”

Meanwhile, Carvalhal has hinted Claude Dielna and Darryl Lachman futures lie away from Wednesday. The defensive duo have not played a single match this term. It was less than six months ago that the Owls signed Lachman from Dutch club FC Twente.

“They know what my opinion is of them and have done since the beginning,” said Carvalhal.

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“Darryl is working with the Under-21s and that was my decision. He knows exactly what I plan for him.

“Claude is training with us but he knows exactly what his position is in relation to the team.

“They have good abilities, especially Claude. He played last year and played well. He and Darryl are very good professionals.

“They are ready if we need them but they know exactly what I think about their futures.”